Tuesday, February 12, 2019

We're Hiring!

Do you know of anyone who wants to be part of a winning team and help create a legacy in Solano County?

Solano Land Trust has three positions open: 

-Comprehensive Campaign Manager

-Seasonal Field Steward

-Manager of Land-People Connections.

Click here to check out the job description on our website.

Please help us spread the word!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Views can be inspiring and offer perspective on day-to-day hassles. Doesn’t it feel good to know that your support of Solano Land Trust helps people find inspiration?

Take a moment to imagine people of all ages and walks of life climbing trails, breathing deeply, and attaining that sweet spot of perspective.

Check out our list of  favorite views on Solano Land Trust properties:

Suisun Hill, Rush Ranch - The Suisun Hill Trail that starts on Grizzly Island Road opposite the driveway to Rush Ranch takes you to the top of Suisun Hill. The view looking south to Mount Diablo leads your eye across the ranch and the Suisun Marsh. One staff member says she’d love to hike Mount Diablo but doesn’t have to because Suisun Hill is in her own backyard, figuratively speaking. That makes her reflect on how grateful she is to be in nature within ten minutes. Be sure to keep an eye out for birds of prey when on Suisun Hill.

North Ridge Trail, Lynch Canyon - Climb to the top of the North Ridge Trail for rewarding views of the Napa River, North Bay wetlands, San Francisco Bay, Mount Tamalpais, and even the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. The trail is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and has picnic tables where you can sit and catch your inspiration while catching your breath.

Tower Trail, Lynch Canyon - It seems that everyone stops at the bench that overlooks the reservoir on the Tower Trail. And just as often they pull out a phone to take a picture of the reservoir below or the classic selfie. There’s something about this spot that people like, beyond the fact that it’s a good place to catch your breath. Look to the towers and see if you can spot a golden eagle.

Big hill overlook, King Ranch - If you have an opportunity to go on a docent-led hike at King Ranch, do it (first Saturday of most months). There are several views that are spectacular. Perhaps the most dramatic is from atop the windy mesa. From this perch, you really get a sense of the vastness of Suisun Marsh and realize how lucky we are that people have worked to protect it for over a century.

Harmonia Hill, Rockville Trails Preserve - From a rocky outcrop at the eastern edge of Harmonia Hill, you can look out over Suisun Valley and further on to Suisun and the Montezuma Hills. On a clear day, you can see forever - well, at least to the Sierras.

Hills at Eastern Swett - On a docent-led hike, you can climb the hills with no names for views that block out housing developments, roads, and cities. The signs of society are in the valleys and hidden from view, and all you see are hills for miles. In the springtime, it’s miles of emerald green, which is so good for the eyes.

Tell us what views you love and why.

Photos courtesy of (in order) Aleta George, Edwin Osada, Aleta George, Solano Land Trust, Nicole Braddock, and Solano Land Trust.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Fighting Fire With Fire

Using fire to manage grasslands

Fire has come to the forefront of our consciousness as Californians. In Solano County, fires directly threatened several communities in 2018, and we all spent months under the oppressive, surreal haze of poor air quality from large fires throughout the state. Reducing fire risk is a priority for all of us, and you may be asking yourselves, can we really fight fire with fire?

Historically, yes. Long before European settlement, indigenous Californians used fire as a tool to manage vegetation and improve habitat for the plants and animals they needed to survive. Light- to moderate-intensity fire can refresh an ecosystem, removing dead plants and releasing nutrients. Following light to moderate fires, it is common to see a flush of new growth, which can attract deer and other animals. Fire can also help control invasive grasses.

Controlled burns

Not all fires are created equal. Fire intensity refers to the energy produced by a fire, and severity refers to the damage left after the fire. Scientists agree that modern fires, with heavy fuel loads resulting from fire suppression policies, are burning more intensely and creating more severe burns with lasting ecosystem effects.

To reduce fuel loads, land managers practice methods such as removing woody material with machinery or using grazing and browsing animals. Another way that fuels can be reduced is through prescribed or controlled burns. Prescribed fire is a tool that is carefully planned and designed to meet management objectives.

Rush Ranch green

Solano Land Trust has a history of using fire as a management tool. If you have ever visited Rush Ranch, you may have witnessed controlled burns that have been part of a training program in partnership with the Montezuma Fire District.

In 2018, three unplanned fires affected Solano Land Trust properties (Rush Ranch, Lynch Canyon, and Paradise Valley). In each case, the fires began on the shoulder of public roads and were carried by the wind onto Solano Land Trust properties. Fortunately, all the fires were of low intensity and severity. You may notice how well vegetation is recovering from those fires. In some ways, these unplanned fires were a test of vegetation management. If fuel loads had been higher, the fires would have been more severe.

Your support of responsible land management practices, such as cattle grazing, ensures we can continue maintaining the resiliency of our lands.

By Jasmine Westbrook, project manager. Photos courtesy of Ken Poerner, Tim Malte, and Tom Muehleisen.